The two most powerful men on earth will always be the subject of prophetic speculation--especially questions about their relationship to the end-times Antichrist. Such speculation comes with the territory, given their respective roles as the two of the key power-brokers in world affairs.
In a recent radio interview, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, expresses the opinion that Barack Obama's foreign policy is hastening the end-times (Obama Is Hastening the Rapture). Echoing the standard dispensational categories of prophetic punditry, Bachmann laments,
“We need to realize how close this clock is getting to the midnight hour . . . . We in our lifetimes potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to earth and the rapture of the church”
This dire prediction is based upon her perception of Obama's weakness in his dealings with Iran. Says Bachmann,
“We are literally watching, month by month, the speed move up to a level we’ve never seen before with these events . . . . Barack Obama is intent. It is his number one goal to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon . . . . If you look at the president’s rhetoric, and if you look at his actions, everything he has done has been to cut the legs out of Israel and lift up the agenda of radical Islam . . . . Any nation that accepts God and his principles is blessed, and those who push away are cursed. That’s what we’re seeing happen to the United States. . . . We will suffer the consequences as a result.”
Alluding to God's promise of favor toward Abraham, Bachmann believes that America's fate depends upon whether or not we support Israel.
Almost in passing Bachmann adds that because of abortion and gay marriage, God is punishing the United States for “embracing a pagan view.” God may very well be punishing America for these things, and Obama's dealings with Iran on nukes may be potentially dangerous. But apart from special revelation, we do not know such things with the biblical certainty Bachmann assumes. There is the uncomfortable fact that God may punish America for embracing a heretical form of civil religion (like that of the politicians of the left and right who confuse American national interests with God's eternal purposes), or for our gluttony, sloth, self-righteousness, or a host of other sins which never are mentioned by politicians.
Then there's Vladimir Putin, the prophecy pundit's best friend. The only problem the pundits have with President Putin is that he is not part of a revived holy Roman empire, so they turn to their faulty exegesis of Ezekiel 38-39 to explain how Putin might just be the supreme end-times foe. I've responded to this misuse of Ezekiel 38-39 previously (Why the Dispensational Interpretation of Ezekiel 38-39 is Wrong).
According to a recent essay from Matthew Avery Sutton in the Washington Post, (Could Putin Be the Antichrist?) Putin's name is now bandied about in recent antichrist speculation,
With the fall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, it looked to evangelicals that perhaps they had misread their Bibles. During the George W. Bush presidency, evangelicals began to invest more time and energy into working in this world rather than in preparing for the next.
And then came Putin. It appears that the former KGB agent may well be helping to lead a revival of apocalyptic thinking among some evangelicals. Best-selling evangelical author Joel Rosenberg, megachurch pastor John Hagee and television prophecy expert Jack Van Impe and many others have recently connected the Russian leader to Old Testament prophecy.
Even if Putin does not actually do battle in the end times with the Antichrist, he serves as a reminder to millions of American evangelicals that the Bible is the best guide to the future. Although Jesus may not be coming today, he is coming soon. And as they keep a wary eye on peace promises coming out of Ukraine, that is all they need to know.
Goes to show, the evening news (or the google news feed) provides continual fodder for the prophecy pundits, even if Scripture doesn't support any of these claims or fanciful speculations.
It is just a matter of time before the next political crisis produces new antichrist candidates and a spate of creative exegesis to support these bizarre claims about political figures and their supposed connection to the end-times.